Testimonies in The Testaments by Margaret Atwood: Images of Food in Gilead

  • Katarina Labudova Catholic University in Ruzomberok
Keywords: Margaret Atwood, The Testaments, The Handmaid's Tale, food, cannibalism, power politics, dystopia, testimony, witness literature, confessional writing


In The Testaments, Margaret Atwood takes readers deeper into her dystopian world of Gilead, also through the imagery of food and eating. The oppressive patriarchal regime enforces its power through dietary restrictions, reducing women into edibles. The Testaments (2019), moreover, creates the impression of a highly individual and authentic narratorial perspective. Thus, Atwood’s characters’ daily lives in a nightmarish theocracy are illustrated with images of dystopian food that reflect the limitations, constant control, and abuse of human rights in the Republic of Gilead. This article explores how Atwood employs the literary form of testimony to create fragments of individual lives in a dystopia brought closer to us through food metaphors and metaphors of cooking, or rendered shocking through metaphors of cannibalism. Since food (and lack of food) has emotional as well as political significance, it pervades the testimonial literature of oppressive regimes.


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How to Cite
LabudovaK. (2020). Testimonies in The Testaments by Margaret Atwood: Images of Food in Gilead. ELOPE: English Language Overseas Perspectives and Enquiries, 17(1), 97-110. https://doi.org/10.4312/elope.17.1.97-110